PHS, South ready to write second chapter

Parkersburg’s Brenton Strange (32) pursues Parkersburg South’s Seth Fallon as he brings the ball up the floor during the Patriots’ 51-46 win over PHS back on Dec. 22. Photo by Joe Albright.

PARKERSBURG — PHS Memorial Fieldhouse is the place to be tonight if you are a fan of either the Parkersburg High Big Reds or Parkersburg South Patriots boys’ basketball teams.

The final game of the season series kicks off at 7:30 p.m. with plenty on the line.

Besides a victory over a heated rival, sectional ground can be solidified or shook up dependent on the outcome.

Game 1 went down to the wire when a pair of free-throw makes from Parkersburg South’s Seth Fallon with 7.6 seconds left sealed the deal for the Patriots, 51-46.

Cole Plants put up a double-double of 25 points and 10 boards for South, while Parker Miller scored a team-high 23 points for the Big Reds.

Though the game ended in a loss for his team, PHS head coach Jeff Mennillo was able to take away plenty from the contest.

“I feel we learned a lot from the first game,” said the Big Reds’ head man, whose team brings a 4-4 mark into this matchup. “Defensively we did a very good job. We closed out great and had a hand in everyones face, and I know they didn’t shoot the ball very well but I felt we had a hand in that. We turned the ball over way too much and shot about as badly as they did, but we did have some pretty good looks.

“We need to take care of the ball and shoot it a little better,” he added.

Coincidentally, PHS comes into the game having cutdown on turnovers and is shooting better from the field. Mennillo’s team has turned the ball over 12 times or less in the last two outings and is shooting 54 percent over the last three contests.

His team has gone 2-1 over the stretch and scored a season high in points (70) during a victory over Spring Valley on Thursday.

Coupled with another stout defenisve effort, Mennillo feels continued success in those areas provides a recipe for success tonight.

Miller and Brenton Strange get the start along with three others not known yet. PHS has used different lineups in every game this season. In addition, Mennillo now has defensive stopper Seth Dailey back in the mix after he was dealing with an injury.

He is going to need Dailey to be at his best as the Patriots have three players averaging over 10 points per contest.

South, who is riding a three-game winning streak since their early-season win, counters with Plants, Shane Snider, Todd Burner, Seth Fallon and Brayden Mooney.

Winning ways haven’t ceased for the Patriots since their Dec. 21 win. The Patriots are on a three-game winning streak, including two double-digit wins over the span.

Plants was pretty adamant when asked what his team needed to do to stretch their current run. “We have to rebound the ball and stay out of foul trouble. PHS probably has two good shooters who shoot the ball from the outside. If we rebound I don’t think there is anyone in the state who can beat us.”

It just so happens South comes in showing improvement on collecting caroms. Plants and company went to Morgantown last Tuesday and beat the Mohigans, a team as physical as the Big Reds, on the boards in a 57-52 triumph.

Fallon also noted his team has been pretty loose in practice this week. “The great thing about our kids is they understand this is just another game for us we can use to get ready for sectionals. We don’t put any extra pressure on ourselves to win or anything like that.

“We worry about ourselves and focus on what we have to work on and try to fix too. Our opponents have to adapt to us. They will definitely do some things that cause us problems but we will do some things that cause them problems. You can’t turn the came into a chess match with your kids. The kids have to be able to play and react.”